Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Peace talks between Israel and Palestinians - Daily News & Analysis

Israel for dramatic decisions in peace talks with Palestinians from Harinder Mishra

Israel today said it will make "dramatic decisions" for a final peace agreement to end the decades-long conflict with Palestinians, but warned that hawks in the country's ruling coalition are making the job difficult.

The remarks by Israel's chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, also the Justice Minister, came ahead of her secret meeting with a Palestinian delegation led by Saeb Erakat here as part of a peace process that resumed recently after a nearly three-year hiatus.

Livni told Israel Radio there would be "dramatic decisions in the end" but lamented the lack of support from hardliners in the coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The current composition of the coalition has complicated efforts to make progress with the Palestinians, Livni said while speaking on the 20th anniversary of the completion of the first Oslo Accord with the Palestinians.

She stressed that strong political support for the nascent peace process is needed to make key decisions and called for replacing Bait Yehudi party backed by right-wing Jewish settlers with the Labour party in the coalition.

Livni also confirmed that another meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) chief negotiator Erekat has been set for later this week. She refused to divulge further details.

Talks between the two sides are being held under complete secrecy because both sides have promised US Secretary of State John Kerry not to discuss details with the media.

The two sides met twice in the past month in Jerusalem and Washington after Kerry spent months engaging in shuttle diplomacy between Israel and Palestinians before they agreed to return to the table.

The last Palestinian-Israeli talks in September 2010 had broken down after Tel Aviv refused to freeze its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.


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